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Garbage in Portuguese waters

It is difficult to define the amount of garbage present on our coast and sea. However, over the last few years, several scientific studies, monitoring and beach cleaning have been carried out, which have provided us with local data on the quantity, types and distribution of marine litter in Portuguese territory. In some parts of the country, the impacts of waste on marine life are also recorded.


Scientific studies

A working group from the Faculty of Science and Technology of Universidade Nova de Lisboa has been carrying out studies in the area of research on plastics and microplastics, since 2007, through the national participation in the Japanese project International Pellet Watch (IPW). As part of this work, some samples of pellets were sent to laboratories at the University of Tokyo to be able to analyze the amounts of POPs adsorbed to plastic in two national beaches (Costa Nova and Guincho). In 2012, the same working group sent samples relating to 7 beaches on the Portuguese coast.

Since 2008, IMAR-FCT-UNL has been carrying out research in the area of microplastics by monitoring plastic particles in some beaches on the Portuguese coast. Initially, the first project (2008-2009), carried out within the scope of a master's thesis, aimed to investigate the existence of POPs in two beaches on the Portuguese coast, Praia da Cresmina and Praia da Fonte da Telha, an article having been published in 2010 in Marine Pollution Bulletin magazine. A second project, also within the scope of a master's thesis, was developed (2009-2010), where instead of two beaches, monitoring moved to 10 beaches from north to south of Portugal, in order to categorize the types of plastic collected. and analysis of POPs but also in order to apply an index to assess the state of the coast. The results are available  here .

Through the POIZON project, also developed by FCT-UNL, 13 beaches in mainland Portugal and 3 in the Madeira archipelago are being analyzed. This project, whose main focus is microplastics and the existence of POPs in them, runs until February 2014.

The University of Aveiro participated in the European project HERMIONE, where the ocean floor was studied. In addition to studying the geology and biodiversity of these deep ecosystems, anthropogenic impacts were also analyzed, namely the presence of marine litter.


monitoring programs

Between 2002 and 2006, the OSPAR monitoring program was carried out in Portugal, through which 7 Portuguese beaches were monitored. You can access the report  here .  



beach cleaning

There are several actions and campaigns to clean up the beach and seabeds taking place on a regular basis in Portugal. In some of these actions, in addition to cleaning, a quantification of the collected marine litter is carried out, usually by weighing or determining the volume by counting the bags, with no separation being made in terms of its composition. Naturally, the amount of marine litter collected in these actions is influenced by the machinery available for collecting the litter, number of participants and duration of the action.

Recording the impacts of waste on marine life in Portugal

Several Portuguese entities have registered the interaction of marine animals with garbage, namely ingestion and imprisonment.

- Municipality of Alcobaça

- Quiaios Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center (CRAM-Q)

- Wildlife Recovery Center of Santo André (CRASSA)

- Wildlife Recovery and Research Center (RIAS/VILLAGE)

- Azores Cetacean Displacement Network (RACA)

- Madeira Whale Museum

Videos about Marine Waste in Portugal and related


Plastic in the Oceans (Minuto Verde - SIC)

good practices in Portugal

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